Rescued fisherman pays tribute to those who took part in successful search
Three Malin Head fishermen had a lucky escape last Friday morning when they were rescued by the Lough Swilly lifeboat after managing to briefly get a signal on their mobile phone.
The trio, Stephen McKeeney and Matthew and Christopher Harley, drifted out to sea after their small fishing vessel lost all engine and battery power on Thursday evening.
One of the rescued men yesterday told the Inishowen Independent that the mood on the boat was ‘fairly calm’ despite the gravity of the situation.
Stephen McKeeney, who is already back out fishing, paid tribute to those who executed the successful early hours rescue effort.
“We are so thankful to everyone involved in the rescue, including all the local fishermen who also took part,” he said.
“We could see the search operation and all the lights in the distance,” he added.
The men took the boat out at 7.30pm but the alarm was raised close to midnight when they had failed to return to Malin Head pier.
Malin Head Coast Guard immediately initiated a major search operation, involving the Lough Swilly RNLI, the Greencastle Coast Guard, the Portrush lifeboat and the Sligo-based helicopter.
Local fishermen also rallied to take part in the nighttime search, the maiden rescue outing for the new Buncrana-based Shannon class lifeboat.
Boat in ‘good shape’